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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Shopping (03/01/07)

TITLE: Consider the Lilies of the Field
By Loren T. Lowery


On a small swell of land just to the south of our house, set back and between a 60-foot Vine Maple on one end and a 20-foot Hazelnut tree on the other, lives a nest of twelve wild sword ferns.

On this knoll, completely encircle by a fence with a pear tree grove to its west and horse pasture to its east another world exists peacefully without markets, shops or vendors. Currency is not needed here; nor would it ever be understood.

Trampled grass is its road, wild blackberries its harvest. Red mulberries spike it with color and gladden the sweep of winging birds. God is present here, in this fern grove – this Gilead. It is a way-side cathedral, set apart for those who by fate or happenstance step across its threshold.

The play of passive light, the moisture held in the air by the wavering ferns, the deep, fragrant smell of earth, the gentle embrace of silence as the plants all seemed to hold the world at bay outside its fenced barrier.

This plot of land is remarkable no matter the season or time of day. But mornings are my most treasured moments here, before chores and horses and other demands reach out to grab me.

In the pre-dawn light, the red vine maple stands as a dark silhouette against the morning sky, her willowy branches stretching upwards like the graceful arms of a ballerina dancing to Swan Lake, but instead of white garland at the tips of her outstretched hands, it is crimson leaves, summer’s first flag of surrender to fall.

Here before day’s onset, I make a chair of an alder stump. It is quiet and peaceful with the morning dew cooling the air. Possibly as Thoreau at Walden’s Pond, I look around to see the sun touching our apple orchard; its warm kiss blushing its fruit laden limbs now bent in autumn’s haze to the ground. Bejeweled arms showing off their finest gems of topaz, rubies, garnets, peridot and emeralds.

Closer still, within reach through the fenced barrier to the east, the pear trees have hung their succulent fruit like droplets of gold. To my right, the rich earthly smell of the wild geraniums scents the air. Beside me, the mulberry bush is bright with red berries and the filbert tree to my left, now lush with fall’s new growth, miserably fails in trying to hide her bounty of clustered hazelnuts beneath her new vibrant green leaves.

Birds of all varieties flit through the brushwood and undergrowth; pelted animals burrow beneath the ground or hide in the hollows of tree and shrub; insects scurry, buzz and vainly attempt to secret themselves. Each creature called to sing and lend its voice, traveling the boundaries of their sanctuary with glad tidings; lifting their voices as joyfully as carolers at Christmas Time.

Here I am clothed with the fabric of solitude and fed by the bounty of beauty. My thirst is quenched by the streams of color flowing from the rising and setting sun. I breathe the air of ancient forests and am entertained by the choir of nature’s voice and comforted by the embrace of God’s peace.

Merchants? Shopping? Currency? It is not needed here; nor would it ever be understood.

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This article has been read 1318 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Betty Castleberry03/09/07
The imagery in this piece is fabulous. You have a real gift for description. Be careful of run-on sentences. Your sixth paragraph is all one very long sentence.
This piece is really lovely, and nice take on the topic.
Marilyn Schnepp 03/11/07
Great devotional for one who has leasure time and place of quiet solitude to absorb all the depth and beauty here; but for the hurried, busy, working person to quickly read it on the run, or on a break...it would lose its magic.
Jacquelyn Horne03/12/07
Wonderful walk through a peaceful scene. Colorful wording all through. I understood your tie to shopping, but would liked to have seen more of your "shopping" for the fruits, nuts and flowers to tie it in a little better. Very well written.
Bonnie Way03/13/07
Gorgeous piece... made me want to step into that little Gilead and take a break myself.
Jan Ackerson 03/14/07
Descriptive without adjective overkill--nicely done. I felt that you sort of "fudged" on the topic a little bit, though, by writing about a NONshopping place, and adding the sentence of disclaimer at the end. The piece is beautiful and serene--wonderfully written.
Sara Harricharan 03/14/07
You took me straight into another world and left me standing, trying to drink it all in at the same time. Excellent descriptions and wonderful imagery. The last line ties in great with the topic. This is a most refreshing twist! ^_^
Brenda Welc03/14/07
Rock my world! This was a great piece of writing. I can smell the smells and see the scenery right before me. Great writing.
Leigh MacKelvey03/14/07
Oh how lovely are your words!
I would give all the willowy branches, bejewed arms and pelted burrowed snimsls to be able to make my pen write descriptions such as yours.
You should try a novel, your style suits one! Blessings, Leigh

Leigh MacKelvey03/14/07
oops, pelted animals!
Joanne Sher 03/14/07
So beautifully vivid. I was definitely wisked away with you to this wonderful place of solitude.
Jen Davis03/14/07
A refreshing read and a creative approach to the topic. Since the beginning paragraph is one long sentence I would suggest making changes in order to better grab the reader’s attention. I liked this: "Trampled grass is its road...” I had to take a deep breath when I read: “I breathe the air of ancient forests.” And I loved the last line.
Myrna Noyes03/14/07
It's been awhile since I've read of your cherished Gilead, and I'm glad you took me back there with your delightful essay! Your rich descriptions created such vivid images in my mind that I felt I was almost sitting there with you! :) Great job!
Catrina Bradley 03/15/07
Wow! Who needs pictures when Nathan can just describe everything? I'm reminded of the hide-aways I used to burrow into on the farm I grew up on, where I was so close to God. Thank you, this is fabulous. Definitely one of my faves this week. God has blessed your pen, brother.
Rita Garcia03/15/07
"Here I am clothed with the fabric of solitude" Wonderful depiction! I felt like I was right there! Great writing!
Sara Harricharan 03/15/07
Congrats on a well done piece! ^_^
Julie Arduini03/15/07
Your gift for description is amazing. This was so well done, congratulations!
Myrna Noyes03/15/07
CONGRATULATIONS on your level and EC wins!! :D You are one of the most descriptive writers I've ever read--almost up there with L.M. Montogomery of "Anne of Green Gables" fame! :) I have such a hankering to really see your Gilead some day! You'll be in Masters before long, I predict!
Sharlyn Guthrie03/15/07
Tererific writing, and wonderful descriptions! Congratulations!
william price03/15/07
Excellent job, Nathan. Super entry. God bless.